Unbundling Policy in the United States Players, Outcomes and Effects
Communications & Strategies, No. 57, p. 59, 2005
24 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2007
Building on attempts during the 1980s to establish principles of Open Network Architecture (ONA), unbundling obligations became a cornerstone of the framework for local competition devised by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Several of the regulations developed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), including the impairment test to assess whether a network element had to be unbundled, the TELRIC pricing method, the obligation to re-bundle network elements to service platforms and the unbundling provisions for broadband networks were challenged repeatedly in court. In response to multiple defeats of earlier rules, the FCC had to refine its approach and define unbundling obligations more narrowly. Effective as of March 11th, 2005, unbundling obligations will essentially be limited to the local copper loop, dedicated interoffice transportation on routes connecting small markets, and high-capacity loops in small markets. Carriers presently using unbundled network elements that do not qualify under the new rules will have to transition to alternative solutions within 12-18 months. During this period, the FCC has set higher ceiling prices for these unbundled network elements. The Commission affirmed the elimination in 2003 of its unbundling obligations in broadband markets.
Keywords: Unbundling, voice, broadband
JEL Classification: L33, L52, L96
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation